Published By John Davies
Benjamin Daniel Rowland Davies was born at Swansea in 1894, the only child of David and Hannah Davies. His father worked in the steel industry then later, by 1911, had changed occupations and set up a grocery business in Swansea. They lived at 13 Rock Terrace, Treforis, Abetirwe, Swansea. After school Benjamin began work as a clerk for Capital and County Banks (the bank was amalgamated with Lloyds Bank in 1918) first at Llanelly and then in September 1914 to work in the Oswestry branch. He lived as a boarder on Stewart Road.
He enlisted as a private in November 1915 joining 26 Bn Royal Fusiliers, the Banker’s ‘Pals’ battalion made up of bank clerks, accountants and similar financial workers etc. The battalion went over to France in May 1916. He was wounded on the Somme in September 1916 and was invalided back to England. When he had recovered, he was selected for officer training and transferred into the RFC receiving his commission in August 1917. He gained his pilot certificate on March 8 (1918).
Benjamin was killed in a flying accident on 11 March 1918 at RAF Spitalgate, about 2 miles from Grantham, Lincolnshire. His plane went out of control and nosed dived into the ground. He was the fourth member of the Llanelly branch of the Capital and Counties Bank to be killed. RAF Spitalgate had been established in 1915 as a RFC flight training facility. Benjamin had recently been on a home leave granted specially for obtaining his wings. His body was returned to his hometown of Swansea. His funeral was a grand affair reported widely in the Swansea and Wales newspapers. It was attend by his family, many dignitaries and representatives of the RFC and Royal Fusiliers. Businesses in Morriston closed and crowds lined the streets. After a service in the Tabernacle Chapel he was buried in Horeb Congregational Chapel yard.
The church and churchyard subsequently fell into disrepair and was demolished as being dangerous. Benjamin’s grave, along with that of Private 46247 D Watkins, Welsh Regiment, were lost. Both men are now commemorated on a headstone in Morriston Cemetery, Swansea. He is also commemorated on Lloyds Bank Memorial.
NOTE – On the Gates his name appears as ‘BDP Davies’ the tail of the ‘R’ was lost during cleaning in (2013/14).